You know about the Cavaliers, but here’s a look at this week’s other ACC and state games of note.
N.C. State at Clemson
3:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPN
The third-ranked Tigers (6-0, 3-0 ACC) have beaten the 16th-ranked Wolfpack (5-0, 2-0) the past six years. The margin of victory was only seven points in each of the past two meetings, however.
Clemson RB Travis Etienne has emerged as a Heisman Trophy candidate. After rushing for 766 yards as a true freshman last year, he already has run for 761 yards on just 83 carries this year. He ranks second nationally with an average of 9.2 yards per carry.
“We thought he would redshirt when he got here, but we kind of quickly figured out in camp that, ‘Ooh, man, this guy’s really explosive,’ ” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “But [he] just had so much to learn. We had to pick our spots, especially early, how we used him.
“That experience is certainly paying off for him this year. But more than anything, [it was] just the offseason—his ability to get into that weight room and to develop his body. … He’s just put on a lot of good muscle mass. He’s really developed his lower body.
“He’s as good as anybody in this country.”
State is allowing an average of just 16.8 points.
“They’ve rose to the challenge, depending on what the offense was we were facing,” State coach Dave Doeren said of his defense. “To be able to play Virginia the way we did—and I don’t think that team gets enough respect; I think that’s a really good football team—I think what they do offensively is really, really challenging, and our guys took a quarterback [Bryce Perkins] out that was basically on the highlight reel of every ESPN ‘SportsCenter’ for a week, hurdling over people, and he had [24 yards rushing] against us.”
“And then Boston College, I thought we might’ve played as good a [stretch of] football as we’ve played since I’ve been here in that first half. … So they’ve rose to the challenge. Obviously this week presents another one, and the most difficult one of all.”
Wake Forest at Florida State
3:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPN2
Wake Forest (3-3, 0-2), which was idle last week, is coming off a 63-3 loss to Clemson. The Demon Deacons fell 56-27 to Notre Dame last month.
“A lot of the big plays that we’ve given up … through the first half of the season, … a lot of them are because of missed alignments, missed assignments,” Wake coach Dave Clawson said. “Part of the reason the margin of victory became so big for [Notre Dame and Clemson] is things that we did to ourself.”
DE Carlos “Boogie” Basham (Northside) has 29 tackles and three sacks in his first season as a Wake starter.
“He’s finding out that it’s not as easy as he thought it might be, but he’s competing, he’s improving,” Clawson said. “He’s made some big plays for us. I think Boogie is on his way to becoming a very good player in the ACC. I wouldn’t say he’s quite there yet, but … there’s no doubt in my mind it’s going to happen.”
Wake DB Traveon Redd (Magna Vista) has 11 tackles.
FSU (3-3, 1-3), which also was idle last week, is coming off a 28-27 loss at Miami. It was the second straight game in which FSU was held under 30 points.
“I just felt the first half of the season fundamentally and technically we weren’t as good as we needed to be, so we really focused on those things throughout the bye week,” FSU coach Willie Taggart said. “We can run the ball better if we’re better fundamentally and technically. Not just run the ball—throw the ball, anything we want to do schematically, … it’ll be better if we’re better technicians.”
North Carolina at Syracuse
12:20 p.m. Saturday, ACC Network
The Tar Heels (1-4, 1-2) blew a late lead in last week’s 22-19 loss at Virginia Tech.
“We can point out [in the film] all the missed opportunities in the game,” coach Larry Fedora said. “That game shouldn’t have even been a close game, to be honest with you. It shouldn’t even have been a game in the fourth quarter. But because of the missed opportunities that we had, we put ourselves in that situation, and then didn’t make enough plays at the end.”
Syracuse (4-2, 1-2), which was idle last week, is coming off back-to-back losses at Clemson and Pittsburgh. The Orange allowed more than 260 yards rushing in each of those games.
“We need to tackle better,” coach Dino Babers said. “We’ve been in the right spots at certain times, but we’re not bringing the ball-carrier down. We need to be more physical.”
UNC has not faced Syracuse since 2003.
The Citadel at VMI
1:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPN 3 (Internet)
The Keydets (0-6, 0-5 Southern Conference) are coming off a 73-22 defeat at Samford. The game tied a 2007 loss at Liberty for the most points VMI has ever allowed.
Samford broke its own school records for points and total offense (773 yards, the fourth-best mark in SoCon history).
It was the fourth time this year VMI allowed more than 50 points and the third time this year it has surrendered more than 600 yards of total offense.
VMI had to replace all four of last year’s starting linebackers—the top four tacklers on last year’s squad. VMI ranks 119th in the FCS in rushing defense (281.3 ypg).
“[The defensive coaches] are working hard to … get some brand-new linebackers that haven’t played much ready to play,” coach Scott Wachenheim said.
The option-oriented Bulldogs rank eighth in the FCS in rushing offense (271.8 ypg).
“They will hammer the fullback at you over and over and over again,” Wachenheim said.
The Citadel (1-4, 1-3) has lost three SoCon games by seven points or less, including an overtime defeat.
VMI is on a 23-game skid—the longest active losing streak in NCAA Division I football.
Washington and Lee at Ferrum
4 p.m. Saturday
W&L (4-1, 2-1 ODAC) will face Ferrum (3-2, 1-2) for the first time.
Ferrum ranks eighth in Division III in rushing offense (289.4 ypg), while W&L is 10th (280.4 ypg).
Panthers RB Brian Mann (Giles) ranks third in Division III with an average of 193 rushing yards.
Ferrum is coming off a 28-27 loss at Guilford. Ferrum’s Chase Deaton had two extra-point kicks blocked, while Ferrum’s Jay Wilkerson missed a 35-yard field goal.
“We missed too many tackles on defense, we dropped too many balls on offense and we missed kicks,” Ferrum coach Rob Grande said.
Salisbury at Southern Virginia
1 p.m. Saturday
Salisbury (6-0, 5-0 New Jersey Athletic Conference) is ranked No. 25 in the Division III coaches poll. Salisbury ranks ninth in Division III in scoring defense (10 ppg).
The option-oriented Sea Gulls lead Division III in rushing offense (369 ypg).
“We have to play disciplined defense,” SVU coach Edwin Mulitalo said.
RB Akiva Wedge of SVU (2-4, 1-4) ran for a career-high 148 yards in last week’s 23-21 win at Apprentice.
“Once he sees a seam, … he will get to that hole and burst,” Mulitalo said. “They get him a tiny little crack in there, he can get through it.”
Idaho state at Liberty
2 p.m. Saturday, ESPN3 (Internet)
FCS member Idaho State (4-2) will face the Flames (3-3) for the first time.
TE Zac Foutz (Cave Spring) has seven catches for 108 yards and one TD for Liberty.
Old Dominion at Western Kentucky
7:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPN Plus (streaming)
Western Kentucky (1-5, 0-2 Conference USA) has suffered a trio of three-point losses.
LB Terez Dickerson (William Byrd) has 25 tackles for ODU (1-6, 0-4).
Richmond at Elon
1:30 p.m. Saturday, Fox College Sports
Elon (4-2, 2-1 Colonial Athletic Association) is ranked No. 11 in the FCS coaches poll.
LB Tyler Dressler (Covington) has nine tackles for the Spiders (3-4, 1-3), while LB Grayson Overstreet (Staunton River) has six tackles.
Maine at William and Mary
3:30 p.m. Saturday
Maine (4-2, 3-0 CAA) is ranked No. 20 in the FCS coaches poll.
LB Nate Atkins (Hidden Valley) has 35 tackles for the Tribe (2-4, 1-2), while CB Simeon Brown (Christiansburg) has five tackles and DE Nick Ridpath (Radford) three tackles. WR Jordan Lowery (North Cross) has two catches.